WATERTOWN, Massachusetts -- A university student wanted in the Boston Marathon bombings was captured hiding out in a boat parked in a backyard Friday and his older brother lay dead in a furious 24-hour drama that transfixed Americans and paralyzed the Boston area.
The bloody endgame came four days after the bombing and just a
day after the FBI released surveillance-camera images of two young
men suspected of planting the pressure-cooker explosives that
ripped through the crowd at the marathon finish line, killing three
people and wounding more than 180.
The two men were identified by authorities and relatives as
ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who had been in the U.S. for
about a decade and were believed to be living in Cambridge,
Mass. But investigators gave no details on the motive for
Early Friday morning, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed
in a ferocious gunbattle and car chase during which he and his
younger brother hurled explosives at police from a stolen car,
authorities said. The younger brother managed to escape.
During the getaway attempt, the brothers killed a Massachusetts
Institute of Technology policeman and severely wounded a transit officer, authorities said.
After a tense, tumultuous all-day manhunt and house-to-house
search by thousands of SWAT team officers with rifles and armored
vehicles, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was cornered in a homeowner's
yard, where he exchanged gunfire with police while holed up in a
boat, authorities said.
He was taken away on a stretcher and was hospitalized in serious
condition with unspecified injuries, police said.
Boston police announced via Twitter that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was
in custody. They later wrote: "CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The
search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in
A cheer went up from a crowd of bystanders in the Boston suburb
President Barack Obama said the capture closes "an important
chapter in this tragedy," but acknowledged that many unanswered
questions remain about the bombings, including the motivations of
the two men and whether they had help from others.
"We will determine what happened," he said. "We will
investigate any association that these terrorists may have had, and
we'll continue to do whatever we have to do to keep our people
A Justice Department official said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will not be read his Miranda rights because the government is invoking a public safety exception.
That official and a second person briefed on the investigation said the 19-year-old will be questioned by a special interrogation team for high-value suspects. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to disclose the information publicly.
The public safety exception permits law enforcement officials to engage in a limited and focused unwarned interrogation of a suspect and allows the government to introduce the statement as evidence in court. The public safety exception is triggered when police officers have an objectively reasonable need to protect the police or the public from immediate danger.
Police said three other people were taken into custody for
questioning at an off-campus housing complex at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth where the younger man may have
Up until the younger man's capture, it was looking like a grim
day for police. As night fell, they announced that they were
scaling back the hunt because they had come up empty-handed.
But then a break came in a Watertown neighborhood when a
homeowner saw blood on his boat, pulled back the tarp and saw the
bloody suspect inside, police said.
"Tonight, our family applauds the entire law enforcement
community for a job well done, and trust that our justice system
will now do its job," said the family of 8-year-old Martin
Richard, who died in the bombings.
Also killed in the attack was a Chinese student.
Chechnya has been the scene of two wars between Russian forces
and separatists since 1994, in which tens of thousands were killed
in heavy Russian bombing. That spawned an Islamic insurgency that
has carried out deadly bombings in Russia and the region, although
not in the West.
The older brother had strong political views about the United
States, said Albrecht Ammon, 18, a downstairs-apartment neighbor in
Cambridge. Ammon quoted Tsarnaev as saying that the U.S. uses the
Bible as "an excuse for invading other countries."
Also, the FBI interviewed the older brother at the request of a
foreign government in 2011, and nothing derogatory was found,
according to a federal law enforcement official who was not
authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of
The official did not identify the foreign country or say why it
made the request.
The FBI was swamped with tips after the release of the
surveillance-camera photos -- 300,000 per minute -- but what role
those played in the capture was unclear. State Police spokesman
Dave Procopio said police realized they were dealing with the
bombing suspects based on what the two men told a carjacking victim
during their long night of crime.
The search for the younger brother all but paralyzed the Boston
area for much of the day. Officials shut down all mass transit,
including Amtrak trains to New York, advised businesses not to
open, and warned close to 1 million people in the entire city and
some of its suburbs to stay inside and unlock their doors only for
Around midday, the suspects' uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, of Maryland,
pleaded on television: "Dzhokhar, if you are alive, turn yourself
in and ask for forgiveness."
Authorities said the man dubbed Suspect No. 1 -- the one in
sunglasses and a dark baseball cap in the surveillance-camera
pictures -- was Tamerlan Tsarnaev, while Suspect No. 2, the one in a
white baseball cap worn backward in the images, was his younger brother.
Exactly how the long night of crime began was unclear. But
police said the brothers carjacked a man in a Mercedes-Benz in
Cambridge, then released him unharmed at a gas station.
They also shot to death an MIT police officer who was responding
to a report of a disturbance, investigators said.
The search for the Mercedes led to a chase that ended in
Watertown, where authorities said the suspects threw explosive
devices from the car and exchanged gunfire with police. A transit
police officer, 33-year-old Richard Donohue, was shot and
critically wounded, authorities said.
Some 200 spent shells were found afterward.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev somehow slipped away. He ran over his already
wounded brother as he fled, according to two law enforcement
officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not
authorized to discuss the investigation. At some point, he
abandoned his car and ran away.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died at a Boston hospital after suffering what
doctors said were multiple gunshot wounds and a possible blast
The brothers had built an arsenal of pipe bombs, grenades and
improvised explosive devices and used some of the weapons in trying
to make their getaway, said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a member of
the House Intelligence Committee.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev had studied accounting as a part-time student
at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston for three semesters from
2006-08, the school said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was registered as a student at the UMass-Dartmouth. Students said he was on campus this
week after the Boston Marathon bombings. The campus closed down
Friday along with colleges around the Boston area.
The men's father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said in a telephone interview
with the AP from the Russian city of Makhachkala that his younger son,
Dzhokhar, is "a true angel." He said his son was studying
"He is such an intelligent boy," the father said. "We
expected him to come on holidays here."
The city of Cambridge announced two years ago that it had
awarded a $2,500 scholarship to him. At the time, he was a senior
at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, a highly regarded public school
whose alumni include Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and NBA Hall of Famer
Tsarni, the men's uncle, said the brothers traveled here
together from Russia. He called his nephews "losers" and said
they had struggled to settle in the U.S. and ended up "thereby
just hating everyone."
Shortly before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's capture, the White House said
Obama had spoken by phone with Russian president Vladimir Putin
about the investigation.
Obama "praised the close cooperation that the United States has
received from Russia on counter-terrorism, including in the wake of
the Boston attack," the White House said in a statement.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.